Orks in sixth: What I’ve learned so far.

Hello all,

Shortly into 6th edition I decided to shelve the Space Wolves for a bit and bring the orks back out.  My biggest reason for doing this was a chance to work on something different.  Although there are plenty of things you can do to the marine models there is a freedom of expression with the orks that isn’t quite the same with other armies.  Anyway, I wanted to review what my games with the orks have taught me so far.

I’ve managed a handful of games against friends; an eldar player who is very new to 40k, a veteran Space Wolf player who’s just getting back into the game after a couple years of little-no play, and a tyranid player who has only had a few games in 6th.  This wasn’t really tournament level play but it gave us all a chance to learn the basic mechanics.  I did learn a few things from these games though.  The new Feel No Pain makes the nobs much more resilient against MC and power weapons that don’t instakill them.  The removal of No Retreat! wounds has made large ork mobs a bit more resilient in HTH, and it has made a huge difference for the Tyranid army.  I also learned that a Grey Hunter pack with Terminator Wolf Guard in front has a much better chance of surviving a direct hit from a Boomgun than it would have in 5th.  I scored 9 wounds and the terminator saved 6 of them before going down.

Then I took my army to the Standish Standoff for my first 6th ed. tourney with the orks.  My fist game was against a Thousand Sons heavy chaos list.  We played Special Ops and I chose Against the Odds, Blitzkrieg, and Battlefield Control as my objectives.  My opponent deployed heavier on my right so I loaded up the middle to left of my deployment and pushed forward.  One trukk blew up, dropping the passengers in the middle of the table, while the battlewagon and other trukk lived thruogh the game.  The Boomwagon was wrekked before it could accomplish much.  He had a unit of three bikers moving up my right flank and after gunning them down to the champion I charged him with 15ish sluggas including nob with PK.  As a champion of chaos he issues the mandatory challenge and I, about to learn a valuable lesson, blindly accepted.  He mauled my nob to death while the rest of the mob stared on.  After that he slowly chewed through the unit since my S3 boyz needed 6’s to wound and he was hot on the save rolls.  Had I been a little smarter I’d have sacraficed the nob’s attacks to ignore the challenge.  With the extra attack plus S4 for the charge I would have had a decent chance to drown him in wounds rather than wasting the whole charge so he could casually murder my nob.  Overall the game went in my favor and I secured all three of my objectives while he failed to achieve his.  He credited his defeat to not being aggressive enough.  He basically held his deployment for the first two turns so that third turn saw several of my units assaulting his in his own deployment zone.

Game two was against a Space Wolf drop pod army with allied Blood Angels.  We played Vengeance.  He won the roll for choice of turns and had me go first.  For the most part I deployed well, but I put my lootas too far forward in order to take a piece of ruins.  I was able to move them in there with movement and running (there wasn’t anything to shoot at yet.)  It gave them 4+ cover and a good view of the field but it also put them on my front line.  On his first turn my opponent dropped a Blood Angels dread with Frag Cannon next to them and wiped the mob.  This game was my first and so far only flyer encounter with my orks.  He brought in a Storm Raven and my Kannons brought it down in one lucky volley.  The game was a good back and forth but we only made it through turn three.  My opponent and I agreed that with one more turn I had a very good chance to pull off a win and he was willing to play one more.  With around 16 minutes left on the clock and a hard dice-down time limit I was confident we’d make it through my turn but not certain we’d make it through his.  Not wanting to win by cheating him out of a turn I conceded defeat.

Game three was against a Dark Angel army featuring two land raiders full of terminators.  We played Battlefield Supiriority.  One squad was Deathwing with thunderhammers and storm shields, the other was a command squad with Belial and a Librarian attached.  He also had a land speeder, Mortis dread with two twin-autocannons, and a tac squad hiding in an ADL with Icarus lascannon.  We traded shots for a turn, him wrecking one of my trukks thus forcing the other to move around the long way while I focused on his tac squad and only took out a couple of them, then his land raiders were close enough to unload.  The Deathwing squad hit my mob of 20 sluggas and after a couple of assault rounds was wiped out.  The other squad chewed through my 30 shootas and a truck full of sluggas with only a few casualties.  2+ 5++ FNB is a bear to take down.  My warboss took down the Deathwing’s land raider in assault, my nobs tried to take the other one but failed an easy charge and we’re shot up pretty badly before they could reach it.  In the end he held two quarters to my one giving him the primary, we each held one of the two objectives and split the secondary, and he earned more kill points to take the tertiary.  I put a bunch of fire into his termie squad in the last turn that just wasn’t enough.  Had I put that into his tac squad instead I may have broken the squad to grab a second quarter but even that was a long shot.  I think this was my turn to lament not being aggressive enough.  Had I pushed everything forward as far as possible in my first turn I probably wouldn’t have found myself stuck as badly as I did and may have been able to outmaneuver his hammer squads to knock out the softer parts of his army.

In all, the orks feel quite a bit like they did in the last edition.  Trukks are faster now with a 12″ flat out but just as fragile as before.  They don’t seem to die any faster than they did in 5th, with AV10 and open topped they have always fallen to penetrating hits and usually still do.  The small (by ork standards) mobs that they carry are still good as a precision instrument but need to be well supported to take out tougher units.  With almost no access to S9+ or AP2 shooting they still struggle with termies and high AV.  Large fearless mobs are a bit more resilient in assault but can no longer go to ground and when they do start taking morale checks they are below 25% of their original number or close to it so they’re not likely to come back.  Also, the PK nob is no longer hidden so they struggle a bit more with armored opponents.

I feel like it’s time to start experimenting with some of the specialty units that I haven’t used as much.  Tankbustas would give me better odds against vehicles.  If not in shooting then with their S10 tankhammers.  Burnas are just about the only power weapons I’ve got access to and against termies they’ll get a ton of hits on the way in to help even things up a bit.  Flash gits will ignore marine armor half the time, termies 1/3 of the time, and always ignore cover now.  They’re still pricy but in a more horde focused list I’ve got the extra points and with S6 guns they’ll also threaten light vehicles to help free up rokkits for tougher ones.  I’ll be exploring these options as I’ve got the models (or bits for the models) to represent them.  In the future I’d also like to try out some IG allies to get a few cheap lascannons.  Plus rebel grots would be a lot of fun to build.  I could let them carry the bulk of the shooting while the orks focus on what they do best.

Those are my thoughts so far.  I’m curious to hear yours.

  • Knowing when to bow out of a challenge is crucial, as you learned. Not being able to hide that Nob is definitely rough. You can keep him up by refusing challenges and hope the Boyz drag down their character but you’re still losing out on those PK attacks. Without that initiative boost from furious charge now it pretty well makes the big choppa useless, other than being cheaper, as that I4 dude will still beat you down first.

    That being said, I agree the specialist units are much needed now for reasons like this. You could say screw it and just go green tide and let numbers overcome the odds. Barring that, yeah, that’s what Burnas, Tankbustas and the like are for. It’s going to require some finesse but I’d rather that than a point and click list.

    • I found they work ok with the mega-warboss attached. I can let the warboss soak the challenge as he’ll instakill most characters but not suffer the same fate while the PK nob hits the squad. PK nobs are also decent against fist or hammer models or characterless mobs. They’re far from the auto include that they were in 5th. I may start using more of the big choppa nobs though to save the 20 points and still have S7 vs. vehicles. At least against a fist they can strike first. I may even try running shoota mobs without nobs. When they start at 30 there’s a good chance that by the time they’re making morale checks the nob is already dead so that bosspole isn’t doing me any good. He adds little to their HTH capacity if he’s challenged out, and he doesn’t add anything to the mob’s shooting so even the 20 points extra for a big choppa/bosspole nob is starting to look pricy.

      I’m definitely moving toward a larger horde element than the speed freek list I ran in 5th, but I’m loathe to go full out on max bodies. Too many standard dudes to paint, too many standard dudes to move across the table, too many standard dudes to look at!

  • Epaminondas

    I’m the DA player you played third round; I would agree that you needed to play more aggressively. While spreading out did make me do the same, it also meant that your mobs hit me in a trickle over several turns rather then one big wave. That allowed me to pick off critical threats while hitting you with the haminators where I choose.

    Playing more aggressively could have resulted in your megaboss getting into the fight. The LR kill was essentially pointless to the over all mission. He needed to be killing terminators, or digging out the power armor.

    I think you were a bit to concerned about immobilized results to. With alot of transports you will fail some, but you needed to get on me me fast to limit my shooting.

    Fun game, I would certainly alter my strategy now that I have blown some rust off my ork fighting skills!

    Don’t get into CC with big units of orks. My deathstar handled it, but it was more due to luck then planning. I miss old fearless….

    • I went around the wrecked trukk with the other one because I was thinking that wrecks are impassible to vehicles. It must be a throwback to an earlier edition as reading the 6th ed book now I only see it listed as difficult and dangerous. I couldn’t cut through the building because I’d foolishly bogged it down full of shoota boyz. If I’d learned the rules properly I would have taken a chance in driving over the wreck. I did have a ram after all.

      The battlewagon sat in the middle of the table because you immobilized it, I fixed it with the Big Mek, and you immobilized it again. That left my nobs trekking across the open to be shot at, but if I had gone full speed on turn one they still would have been on top of you. Same thing with the trukks really. It could have been a different game if I’d made the effort to get out of my deployment zone sooner.

      Oh well, lesson learned. Read the rules, and don’t mill about so much! As you pointed out Ork waves need to be big, not a trickle of termie snacks.

      It was still a fun game. Maybe we’ll get a re-match some day!

  • Ann

    Interesting article. I play orks as my main army as well and I think they still generally reward aggressive play. The thing is you need more shooting in the ork army by and large now with assault being something that supports shooting, rather than just running an “assault army” if you are planning on playing beyond the “friendly game” stage and often even there too. That’s been my experience anyway.

    • Thanks.
      I agree that the orks need a good amount of shooting to get by in sixth edition. Fast ork units can’t afford to take much damage before getting into combat and large units take too long. They need something to take the heat off and soften the enemy up. Since writing this article I’ve been working on Imperial Guard allies for my orks (modeled as Rebel Grots.) It gives me access to some cool tanks and cheap infantry based firepower (and an excuse to build Rebel Grots!)
      I’m also planning to work on some of the shootier Ork units that are missing from my collection. I want a shooty battlewagon and some flash gitz. I also need to get my bikes and tankbustas finished. If the rumors are to be believed, the new Ork codex might be out before I get through all that so we’ll see where things go.

      What do you use for fire support in your ork army?

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